Specialists support Walter Röhrl at Nordschleife comeback

Published March 15th, 2010 - 09:28 GMT

Preparations for the racing comeback of Walter Röhrl (63) at the Nürburgring 24 hour race are in full speed. During a seat fitting at the Weissach Motorsport Centre, the double WRC champion met his team mates with whom he will share the cockpit of the standard Porsche 911 GT3 RS on 15th and 16th May. Former DTM pilot Roland Asch (59), journalists Horst von Saurma-Jeltsch (55) and Chris Harris (35) know the Nürburgring-Nordschleife like the back of their hands and have contested in Germany’s greatest long distance race several times.

Double DTM vice-champion Roland Asch has tackled the 24 hour event in the Eifel more than a dozen times. In 2004 he secured the overall fifth position. The foundation for Asch’s career was laid in the Porsche brand trophy series. Contesting the Porsche 944 Turbo Cup, the Swabian proved to be virtually unbeatable, winning the championship three times in a row.  In 1991, he claimed the championship title of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland. For the 2010 season, Roland Asch already has a race track marathon behind him: Behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, he contested the Dubai 24 hour race where he fought long and hard for the lead until his retirement.

At his debut race in 1987, Horst von Saurma-Jeltsch was Asch’s team mate in the 944 Turbo Cup. It didn’t take long for the Nürburgring-Nordschleife to become the favourite circuit of the editor-in-chief of the specialist magazine “sport auto”. Since 1988, Horst von Saurma-Jeltsch has contested the 24 hour classic twenty times. In 2001, the 55-year-old shared the cockpit of a Porsche 911 GT3 R with a line-up that included Porsche works driver Timo Bernhard. As a journalist, he regularly conducts tests on the Nordschleife and in 2004 even set a lap record with a Porsche Carrera GT.

British motor sport journalist Chris Harris got his first taste of the Nordschleife in 1999. Since then he has contested the 24 hour race four times, most recently in 2007 in the cockpit of a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. During the 2008 season, Harris yielded tenth place with a 911 at the VLN Nürburgring long distance championship. At two guest appearances in the Carrera Cup Great Britain, he brought home sixth and seventh place.

In preparation for the 24 hour marathon, Röhrl and his fellow racers aim to contest two long distance races with their 450 hp Porsche 911 GT3 RS. “I’m sure we will quickly familiarise ourselves with the track and the car,” said a confident Röhrl. “We’ll need to practice our pit stops. After all, it was 17 years ago that I last made a driver change at race speed.”

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